By Olakunle Agboola – It is widely acknowledged that a land devoid of visionary leaders and a nation without integrity can hardly experience stability and growth. That is the story of Nigeria in recent years.
Leaders with vision inspire citizens and mobilize them for nation building. Leaders with crystal motives employ wisdom, foresight, sense of purpose and commitment, to galvanise a people towards self-actualization and propel the national spirit in them. History throws up quite a few outstanding leaders, true heroes of their time, who set the moral and political tones for their societies. Such leaders as George Washington of America, Mahatma Gandhi of India, Winston Churchill of Britain, Charles De Gaulle of France, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore and Nelson Mandela of South Africa, readily come to mind.
If we are sincere about our search for a new economic direction, we must also have to take a critical look at the political factor of leadership which is the greatest problem militating against our economic development, and social-political cohesion in Nigeria
Our choice of leadership will determine our political direction; so if the choice of leadership is wrong politically, our economic direction will also be wrong. Nigeria’s history has linked its economic fortune with its choice of leadership; and because our successive choices since independence had been wrong, it has affected our economic direction and stagnated the nation to prosper.
The way out of this economic downturn should have its focus on leadership. Nigeria needs a man with exceptional endowment to harness both human and material resources efficiently. We need a leader with the capacity, the courage and the strength of will to destroy all the structures that obviously portray imbalance, injustice, unfair and parochial favouritism based on sectional interest as well as religious considerations. Such a leader must understand the dynamism of education as it correlates to self – discovery, talents and human capacity.
The 21st-century leader must be able to dismantle the present system of education and assemble intelligent scholars to design the 21st-century curriculums for Colleges and Universities. Also, history and management courses should not be taken lightly but infused into the curriculum right from the primary school level to the university level. This will not only build the nation but raise new crop of leaders to harness and maximize the nation’s natural resources for growth and development
Change is the factor and it all begins with us. Our choice of leadership should be a transformer, progressive elite, performer, communicator, erudite, nation builder and change agent who will give the country a new direction socially, politically and economically. As 2019 draws closer, let us wake up to build a lateral room of development.
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